This afternoon and evening, Steve, Cathy, and I got to witness an amazing transformation in Jack. He's definitely become an independent kid.
We have new neighbors up the hill/next door, and they have friends who have kids close to Jack's age. We introduced ourselves a couple of weekends ago, and ever since, Jack has been looking for the kids to come back and play.
Tonight, he saw "his buddies" outside. He immediately ran up the hill to ask them to play. And they came and played. They ran around the swing set for a while; then ran around the yard. Then they seemed to get bored (Jack tried to invite them inside the house). So I offered to get some balls and sports stuff.
That's when Cathy and I started to have a good time. After they each had a turn or two to hit the ball off of the tee, and Jack got a ball to the face, we decided we would try to teach them how to hit the ball and run bases. We split them up into two teams (boys vs girls), and then the craziness ensued.
We tried simple instructions first. Hit the ball, run to the pinecone (first base). Sounds good. Except no one dropped the bat and there might have been a few swings at the other players. They also needed clarification on which pinecone to run to. Okay, hit the ball, drop the bat, run to the pinecone where Auntie Bubbles is standing. Good.
Next how to field. Catch the ball, tag the runner. Unfortunately, they didn't quite understand this was a two-step process, so first they tried to split the tasks ("you catch the ball, I'll tag the girls"). Once we cleared that up; wait, we never got that cleared up. So instead, we moved on. It just got more confusing. The batter would hit the ball, drop the bat, run to get the ball, and try to tag someone. Yep, that was all one kid.
After about 4 innings, Cathy and I were ecstatic that we got every kid to hit the ball, drop the bat, and run to the base without trying to pick up the ball first. Jack even got into sliding into the bases. Of course, he liked sliding so much, he slid when he was playing outfield (into a base, not trying to catch the ball). We eventually got the girls to run to second base and third base. The boys never really got past second (which is a good thing, in my book).
We finally broke for dinner, but we did return outside for a second game, a bonfire, and some Yonanas (that's a story for another blog post). While Auntie Bubbles made a great effort to get the kids to play again by themselves, it was really just chaos. So instead, they started to play tag and then we made dessert.
It was pretty dark by that time, so of course, Steve suggested hide and seek. If you thought our T-ball story was good, hide and seek was better. All four kids hid together and managed to be quiet for about a millisecond after Steve finished counting. Then the screamed. And when Steve found them, they screamed again. Then it was Steve's turn to hide, and the kids counted. The rule was to count to 30, and despite a dislike of the number 16, they managed it pretty well. The seeking was pretty funny as they narrated the search. "Let's look up here. Okay, how about in the tire swing. Maybe back here. How about this side." Steve can stay pretty quiet, so it took them a few minutes, but they eventually found him, and then yes, screamed.
I think the best quote of the night was during monster tag. It was from Jack, of course. "I tagged myself, so now I'm it."
Oh, to be five again.
And now for a few pictures: